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May 2022

Maternal psychopathology and prediction of outcome based on mother-infant interaction ratings (BMIS)

Author(s): Kumar, R.

Journal/Book: Br J Psychiatry. 1996; 169: British Journal of Psychiatry, 17 Belgrave Square, London, England SW1X 8PG. Royal College of Psychiatrists. 655-661.

Abstract: Background. Very little is known about the adequacy and safety of maternal parenting behaviour in the context of severe postpartum psychiatric illness, about specific difficulties in relation to different types of mental illness, or about the potential for improvement over the course of an episode of illness. The Bethlem Mother-infant Interaction Scale (BMIS) was thus developed as an aid to assessment on a specialist psychiatric Mother and Baby Unit. Method. Nurses' ratings of the quality of mother-infant interaction using the BMIS were collected throughout the consecutive admissions of 78 in-patient pairs. The ratings from three points during the admissions were examined according to the mothers' RDC diagnoses and also according to the eventual outcome of the admission. Results. The nature of the mother's illness was associated with the quality of her infant caretaking using the BMIS ratings. The nurses' ratings during the second week of admission together with maternal psychiatric diagnosis, were strongly predictive of the eventual outcome of the admission. The majority of women who were separated from their infants on discharge or who required formal supervision belonged to the schizophrenic group. Conclusions. The results suggest that the BMIS can be used in this in-patient setting to aid clinical decisions about the safety of parenting by individual mothers with severe mental illness in the postpartum period.

Note: Article R Kumar, Univ London, Inst Psychiat, Dept Psychiat, de Crespigny Pk, Camberwell SE5 8AF, England

Keyword(s): POSTNATAL DEPRESSION


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